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My beloved dog was just diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Encouragement please?

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  • My beloved dog was just diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Encouragement please?

    She's a 7-year-old Pekingese, usually very energetic and playful. I want more than anything to extend her life (and her quality of life) as long as I can, she means more to me than I can put into words. My heart dog, if you will.

    Please tell me this is possible! Pekes are usually long-lived dogs, and I hope for many years left together.

  • #2
    ok, hip dysplasia is VERY manageable. Essentially, the dog has not-well-formed hip sockets which leads to arthritis. The first thing to check is the diagnosis: you really have to have x-rays for a proper diagnosis.
    So first you try medical management: keep the dog very thin (less weight to haul around); keep the dog active- lots of moderate activity, like walking and swimming; do PT exercises to build up the hind end muscles; feed the dog a non-inflammatory diet (grain free, high in fish oil); give the dog oral joint supplements; perhaps try an injectable joint substance like adequan; give painkillers if necessary.
    Many dogs manage just fine life-long on medical management.
    If medical management doesn't keep the dog comfortable and happy, you can embark on surgery- a total hip replacement is curative. Most dogs walk out of the hospital happy and more comfortable and mobile than when they went in, and then all you have to do is keep the dog quiet for a few weeks until it heals, and you have a cured dog. They have come out with artificial hips small enough for a peke. The only downside to this is it's quite expensive.
    There's an older surgery, FHO, that they might suggest, especially since you have a small dog. I would suggest not doing this. The outcomes for both function and pain relief are not good with this procedure. They used to believe that small dogs in particular did just fine with this kind of surgery, but more extensive followup is finding this to not be the case.


    • #3
      HD is manageable. Speak to your vet about medical routes/therapies. Things that you can do yourself, are (as Wendy pointed out), keep weight down, walk your dog to build up muscle tissue (up hill will help with rear end muscles) and don't panic.

      I, personally, believe that there are probably many dogs with HD to one degree or another that are never diagnosed.


      • #4
        My SIL has a year old lab that was diagnosed with HD. They managed it fairly easily by doing all the things that wendy suggested. She's a happy, energetic girl... totally typical lab.


        • #5
          Is that "old method" one of disengaging the hip from the femur completely?
          I've heard it is feasible for small dogs. My cat got her hip joint crushed and her femur is free floating. She gets around fine, jumps up chairs 2 ft high. She is maybe 10-12 yrs old. She can no longer do those impressive cat things, jump 3 ft or higher from a sitting position, but she does well.


          • #6
            my husband has hip displasia, literally, and has already had one hip replacement at the age of 33. His other hip hurts him all the time but he can manage it very well if he takes a mix of glucosamine and MSM. The chondroitin doesn't seem to make a difference one way or another.

            I've seen my own dogs and hear of many of my customers' dogs that have immediate results from the supplements.

            That and everything else wendy said.
            “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


            • #7
              Totally managable like others have said.

              Seek a consult with a boarded orthopedic surgeon if you want "all" options discussed with you.

              Often, medical management is first suggested.
              However, depending on severity sometimes surgical management is needed if medical doesnt work.

              Total hip replacements are wonderful, the cementless ones provide less chance of infection. There are more complications with total hips than FHO's, however results are often far better with TH.

              Cement THR's have good results, however very difficult to remove implant if there is infection or failure.

              FHO's are ideal if a total hip isnt in the budget. Often an inexpensive alternative, however generally only ideal for unilateral disease (so one hip joint would have to be responsive to medical management). I have been a part of about 250 of these in the past 5 years, and there are hardly any complications (no implant for the body to reject). Gait is often normal, but there is obvious weakness in that leg (not ideal for a real working dog). They do need to maintain a fitness though and stay on the lean side. I find pain control is very much improved with this as there is no "joint" to be diseased anymore.

              Although its not recommended for dogs long term, denervation (like in horses) is sometimes used for very geriatric patients who are mobile but painful. Not frequently recommended, but it is an option for short term quality of life.

              As far as medical management there are 1001 different suppliments/injectables/NSAID's etc. While hearing others opinions on a BB, its often worth spending a consult fee to speak with someone who has thousands of cases under their belt...they may be able to suggest a protocol to start with, and work with you with tweaking as needed.

              Also,just a question - how was this hip dysplasia diagnosed? The reason I ask, is that hip dysplasia is not the most common thing in pekes. Not to say it cant happen, but I havent seen many diagnosed with HD. Patellas however, yes!


              • #8
                It's disheartening, but worse things could happen. As everyone said, it's manageable. I have an older Chow mix with hip dysplasia. I keep him thin, although he could stand to lose a little right now, and he gets a supplement. I refuse to pay for the J/D Science Diet that the vet pushed because it's cheaper to feed a better quality food and a supplement.

                He gets Previcox as needed for pain, which isn't often. It's hard for him to get up from the slippery laminate floor, so beds and rugs in their favorite spots are nice. He also needs help getting into the truck.

                Good luck with your dog. Animals are supposed to be stress relievers, but I swear they cause more stress. But I still wouldn't be without a few critters.


                • #9
                  Another vote for "manageable" & not to get too distressed over.

                  Years ago - long before there were many - if any - specialty vets around, I had a Newfoundland/Lab cross that, after dislocating a hip, was discovered to have severe hip dysplasia. So severe that the vet didn't even want to bother fixing the dislocation; just wanted to euthanize the dog. I saw the x-rays, & there were practically no hip sockets at all - just extremely shallow depressions where a socket should be. But I insisted vet try anyway. Dog came home with leg splinted & wrapped into place, & with lots of TLC, came out of it good as new. Not only did he never have a problem after that (even though vet predicted we'd be back constantly), but he led a long happy life, only occasionally needing meds.

                  And this was a BIG heavy highly-active dog.
                  Last edited by Bacardi1; Oct. 5, 2012, 06:43 PM.


                  • #10
                    I, personally, believe that there are probably many dogs with HD to one degree or another that are never diagnosed.
                    oh yes. I had a friend who took her 12-year-old lab in for x-rays due to sudden severe symptoms (turned out to be atumor in the abdomen), and they happened to discover the dog had really severe hip dysplasia. Never displayed any overt symptoms from the hips, but the dog had been kept thin and active life-long which I'm sure helped stave off any symptoms.

                    You do have to be careful with diagnosis- if the dog is having lameness issues, and they x-ray and spot bad hips, I think many vets are too quick to assume the hips are the cause of the lameness. In some cases, it's actually the soft tissues of the dog's knee that is causing the problems (CCL or patella), or sometimes even other soft tissues, like ipsilateral strains, which are common and underdiagnosed, or even back pain, also common and underdiagnosed in dogs. It's very possible for a dog to have bad hips on x-ray but the actual cause of the current problem isn't the hips.
                    And then some dogs suffer from severe pain and disability from their hips despite having only "mild" hip dysplasia. It's not a straightforward disease at all.


                    • #11
                      I have an almost 7 yr old Golden/Chow mix. He was diagnosed at 8 months w/ dysplasia, I suspected after watching him walk - a dip in his git-along - and he went upstairs like a bunny. Did xrays to confirm. Began a program of regular short walks (15 -20 minutes), put him on a supplement called glycoflex. He was pretty much fine. Couple years later moved to Florida - much easier to maintain a frequent shorter walks, also began to let him swim in pool regularly, and he goes to the dog park. He is even better now than when he was younger, not as weird in the walk and he can stand on his back legs to get to the counter (). Don't panic just yet, your little one should be manageable for some time - maybe a long time. Follow your vet's instructions, keep her moving and as strong as you can, also ask re something like a baby asprin (dosage amount) or something stronger for an occasional achy day.

                      good luck!
                      We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                      • #12
                        Will he swim? Swimming is EXCELLENT exercise for bad hips.

                        My big dog had no success at all with Adequan, but I know many people have had good results. It's very individual.

                        Shadow was diagnosed with dysplasia when he was two or three; it didn't really bother him until the past couple of years. Now he's 12 1/2 and we're managing the pain with Rimadyl, tramadol and acupuncture.
                        I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                        • #13

                          Many years ago my then Bull Terrier at the ripe old age of 18months was diagnosed with hip displasia. I put him on a regimine of Cosequin for dogs and it helped him immensely.
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                          • #14
                            There are so many ways to manage HD now I would not get too overwrought about it...First, keep the dog on the thin side, the more weight your dog has to lug around the worse his joints are going to be. Second, low impact excercise such as water treadmill work or swimming is very good. Ask your vet if there is an accredited PT center for animals around you. Many areas now have these, where the exercise is done with vet techs and the plan is drawn up and supervised by vets. Since Pekes are a squashed face breed, this would be important to avoid aspriation of the water. Third, a good joint supplement, Fourth. If the first three do not provide enough relief, their are aniti-inflammatories and surgical options. Many of which are truly effective. Ask you vet for a referral to an orthopedic specialist if it comes to that. Many of my client dogs have replacement hips and a doing wonderfully well.